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Tuesday
Feb222011

Flying Carpet Car (1958)

Andrew A. Kucher [right] with Anastas I. Mikoyan [left] (Life Magazine, 1959)

In 1958 you'd find no greater advocate for the hovercar than Ford vice president Andrew A. Kucher. Kucher was on a media blitz in the late 50s and early 60s, being quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street JournalMechanix IllustratedChicago Daily Tribune, Popular Mechanics, Automotive Fleet and below in Arthur Radebaugh's syndicated Sunday comic, Closer Than We Think.

Kucher is credited with having conceived the idea of the hovertrain in the 1930s, a precursor to today's Maglev trains which use magnets rather than compressed air to achieve a similar effect. Newspapers from April, 1958 describe a three foot long hovercar model that was shown to reporters in Detroit. Riding on a cushion of air, Kucher described how this "Glideair" car could one day achieve 200-500 miles per hour since it didn't have tires which burn up and lose traction or control. An Associated Press piece even quotes Kucher as saying that such technology would be in use in the "foreseeable future."

For the love of Hugo! If God had intended that we fly he would've attached propellors to our feet! Amirite? Amirite?!!?!?!

Look, pa, no wheels! Use of a thin layer of compressed air may allow autos to hover and move just above ground level.

A pipe dream? Not at all. The concept (already proved) comes from scientist Andrew Kucher, vice-president of engineering at one of our major motor companies. His people are studying how to maintain stability. Special highway engineering is one way. Another is skillful design, evidenced already in experimental ideas from the staff of motor stylist George W. Walker.

Today's earthbound cars won't turn into low flying carpets right away. But it may happen sooner than we think!

 

As always, thanks to Tom Z. for the color scan of this panel from April 6, 1958.

 

Previously on Paleofuture:

 

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Reader Comments (6)

I like the new header! love & respect from Italy
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pcna

February 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterretro geek girl

It seems that by the time we have magic carpet cars, we'll all be living in observatories.

On the other hand, the text seems to be describing Luke Skywalker's land speeder.

Just discovered this blog, and so far I'm loving it. Nice job!

February 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBruce T. Paddock

Apart from not having control, without tyres, what is the advantage of this car over whatever there was available at the moment? Lifting a ton of car just to save the bunnies from becoming roadkill? To go offroad with a thing like that? Imagine, breaking for a crossing pedastrian involves an incredible amount of hot air to be blown *forward* - so, even if you dont HIT the pedestrian directly you can still set him back 40-50m. Soundlevels would have been close to a jet doing VTOL. I can't imagine any sane engineer not to have seen those disadvantages at the time. What were they thinking?
I imagine they just had to show something more futuristic than the Citroen DS, available in Europe in those days...

March 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTimeFlies

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March 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterwarrenthree

Wooo! This is so freakin' cool, man! What if we have cars like these today? I just wish we have one, so we could avoid traffic jams. But even though we don't have flying carpet cars, I'm happy and contented with my Dodge Journey that I bought in Edmonton a few years ago. I feel like I'm on a magic carpet ride every time I drive this car. Man, I think you better own a Dodge. Edmonton dealerships shops is one of the places where you can find one.

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKevyn

That guy driving looks like Duke Nukem

May 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdav

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